9 Things you can do now to jump start your resolution to be a more fit, healthier you
I know what you're thinking.
Mrs. Bean...it's November. New Years is in JANUARY. Yes, yes, I know. And this is where I want to begin.
We've already heard many times that most people give up on their resolutions within two weeks of January 1st. This may not be true for everyone but it does apply to many. I think a resolution to change something about yourself or your life has to come from a deep sense of respect for yourself and meaningful intention. If this is the basis for an improved you then you owe it to yourself to start now. It's November, which means you can be two months into a better you by the time everyone is getting started. By January your habits will already be changed and the focus will then be to keep going! The important thing is to love yourself enough to get started now.
Drop the T. No excuses.
CAN-t. Please let the T go. Focus on the can. You can show up. You can do your best. You can make changes in your life. Even if it's hard. You can. Only ever look back to reflect on how far you have come. Look for reasons and strategies to succed....and you will.
I met my friend Jordan, who is a personal trainer, in October of 2013. This man changed my life. His no nonsense approach to working out and nutrition impacted my life in so many ways, not just in the gym. When I first met him he signed me up for three personal training sessions to see where my fitness was at. It was bad. Really bad. I thought I was fit. I had lost about seventy pounds on my own and thought I would crush this. Ha. I remember wanting to throw up and a piecing headache. But mostly I remember this. I was repeatedly saying that I can't, I can't! We got through the entire one hour workout like that. I said at the end that I didn't realize beforehand that I can't do this. Jordan looked at me and said, "You just did, so you can".
Whatever your fancy is...move. Lift weights, do Zumba, run. If you are brand new to exercise then walk. It's really that simple. There doesn't have to be some intense fitness plan or expensive gym membership. Lace up your shoes and walk. Start with twenty minutes and gradually work you way up. When I first started I weighed almost 250 lbs. I lost the first twenty by cleaning up my diet, more on that in a minute. Then I started walking. Then I graduated myself to a walk/run. Honestly, it was so basic. I couldn't run at all. It looked like this: I would walk to warm up. Then I decided I would run for 30 seconds in intervals to start. I didn't have a fancy GPS watch or pace tracker...so I counted. Each step was 1. One, two,three....twenty-nine, thirty. I would then walk until I felt that I could breathe again. I did this at first for 2.5km and gradually increased my running time and distance. My point is just move. Even if all you can do is sit, grab two water bottles and do curls. Do something each day. When I get asked "what can I do right now other than walking starting today", I tell them do these three things - squats, push ups and crunches. It's a good start and costs nothing.
Reduce the processed stuff. That includes sugar.
I'm not going to tell you go to your pantry and throw everything out. I'm not going to tell you that you can never have a piece of cake again. Yes, this is ideal but not realistic. It's about the bigger picture. What are you consistently putting into your body on a daily basis. That's what matters Not the cup of coffee with heavy cream you have on Saturday morning or the cake you had at your daughters birthday. BUT if you are drinking three triple-triples a day and eating processed, boxed foods for dinner every night and finishing it up with pie and a soda..then there is room for improvement. You don't have to do this all at once. Make small, gradual changes if it's easier for you . Generally speaking, stick to whole foods most of the time. Add more fruits and veggies until they outweigh everything else on your plate. Whether you eat animal products or are vegan, the same rule applies to all types of diets.
Eat. Don't starve yourself - your body will have the last laugh if you do.
When I use the word 'diet' I don't mean in terms of what you can't have. Unfortunately the word diet has come to mean some restrictive policy people put on themselves. Diet to me means what you are eating, as in what is included in your diet...it's nutrition. You can't trick your body. It knows what's going on, even if it looks like it's playing nice. It will figure it out if your are restricting and get you in the end. Eat good, whole foods to fuel your brain, your body and your workout.
Drink more water.
This is so important. Most people I talk to do not drink enough water. Your body needs it. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired and drained of energy. Some people use the eight cups a day rule. You can keep it simple by drinking water in the morning and at night as well before each meal and during workouts. Listen to your body, if you feel thirsty drink water first. Your pee should be clear. I found a cool calculator at camelbak.com that takes your age, weight, activity and climate into consideration if you want to get really serious about it.
Breathe. Take that twenty minutes once or twice a day to calm, quiet and focus the mind. I didn't really understand the benefits of meditation and yoga until about a year ago. When I started making these practices part of my day I found that I became more productive, less stressed and more focused in general. And no you don't have to be perfect at it and you don't have to be able to do all the poses right away. Meditation can be done anywhere. Sitting, standing or laying down. Be still, focus on the breath.
Get more sleep.
Turn everything off. Do it. Turn your phone off. Put away the tablet. Shut down the computer. Unplug the television. When you sleep your brain goes crazy and starts filing away your day and your body rests, repairs and restores. The more sleep you get at night, the better you days will be. According to Mind Body Green your mind will be sharper, you can reduce the signs of aging and it can even help you control your weight. I happen to be married to someone who claims that they need the noise to sleep. Hogwash I say. What I have noticed is that he is restless while this noise is around and only falls into a good quality sleep when I sneak the remote away and shut everything down.
Try something new. Do something fun.
Is there something you've always wanted to try? This is a great way to get motivated and stay interested. Sign up for one of those muddy, obstacle races, take a boxing class, go rock climbing. There's probably been something over the years that you've thought, " I'd like to do that one day". This might be that day!